Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born May 5, 1988) is a British singer-songwriter who has sold millions of albums worldwide and won a total of 15 Grammys as well as an Oscar. Adele’s first two albums, 19 and 21, earned her critical praise and a level of commercial success unsurpassed among her peers. After becoming a mom in 2012, Adele returned to the charts with the ballad “Hello” in 2015, the lead single from what was dubbed her comeback album 25. In 2017 she won five Grammys for her work on 25, including album, record and song of the year.Early on, Adele developed a passion for music. She gravitated toward the songs of Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and Destiny’s Child. But her true, eye-opening moment came when she was 15 and she happened upon a collection of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald records at a local shop. “There was no musical heritage in our family,” Adele told The Telegraph in a 2008 interview. “Chart music was all I ever knew. So when I listened to the Etta James and the Ella Fitzgerald, it sounds so cheesy, but it was like an awakening. I was like, oh, right, some people have proper longevity and are legends. I was so inspired that as a 15-year-old I was listening to music that had been made in the ’40s.”While clearly bright, Adele wasn’t oriented towards traditional classroom settings. Instead, her mother enrolled her in the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, which counts Amy Winehouse as an alum.While at school, Adele cut a three-track demo for a class project that was eventually posted on her MySpace page. When executives at XL Recordings heard the tracks, they contacted the singer and, in November 2006, just four months after Adele had graduated school, signed her to a record deal.
Adele has recorded a total of three studio albums since the beginning of her career in 2008: 19, 21 and 25.
’19’ (2008) Adele’s debut album, 19, which is named for the singer’s age when she began recording the project, went on sale in early 2008. Led by two popular lead singles, “Adele: Hometown Glory (2009)” and “Adele: Chasing Pavements (2008)” the record rocketed Adele to fame. Released in the United States through Columbia Records, 19 resonated with American audiences, much as it had with British music fans. Adele cemented her commercial success with an appearance in October 2008 on Saturday Night Live (2016). At the taping of the show, the album was ranked No. 40 on iTunes. Less than 24 hours later, it was No. 1.
’21’ (2011) Adele’s much anticipated follow-up album, 21, again named for her age at the time of recording, did not disappoint upon its release in early 2011. Tapping even deeper into Adele’s appreciation for classic American R&B and jazz, the record was a monster hit, selling 352,000 copies within its first week. Anchored by hits like “Adele: Rolling in the Deep (2010)” and “Adele: Someone Like You (2011)” 21 placed Adele in rarified air. In February 2011, she found herself with two Top 5 singles and a pair of Top 5 albums in the same week, becoming the only artist besides The Beatles and 50 Cent to achieve that milestone. And with 21 staying at No. 1 for 11 weeks, Adele also broke the solo female artist record previously held by Madonna’s Immaculate Collection for consecutive weeks atop the album charts. 21 went on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide.
’25’ (2015) On October 22, 2015, Adele announced that she would release her third album, 25, in November. She posted 25’s cover on Instagram, and said of her first full-length studio project in several years: “My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. And I’m sorry it took so long but, you know, life happened.” 25, released in November 2015, is a collection of emotional, sometimes plaintive songs looking at the ins and outs of relationships, owing much of its sound to traditional pop craft. The album went on to become an international smash hit, reaching No. 1 on iTunes in 110 countries. In the U.S., 25 sold 3.38 million copies in seven days, beating the ‘NSync record of 2.42 million album copies sold in a week. Among other feats, 25 is also the only album to reach a million copies sold in the U.K. in 10 days.
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